Published: Sat, April 06, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

'I didn't see any emotion on his face,' says Christchurch shooting survivor

'I didn't see any emotion on his face,' says Christchurch shooting survivor

According to local media, he is poised to appear in court via video link from the maximum security prison in Auckland, where he is lodged, on Friday.

The Australian man arrested over a terror attack on two mosques in New Zealand will undergo a test to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial before his case proceeds.

Charge documents lodged with the court today only refer to the 39 attempted murder victims by alphabetical-numerical numbers, starting with "W001" and ending with "W039".

Justice Cameron Mander remanded Tarrant in custody until June 14 and ordered he undergo a mental assessment to determine whether he was fit for trial.

"The man had no emotion", said Tofazzal Alam, a regular at one of the mosques, when asked about seeing the suspect on video.

Fifty other people were injured in the terrorist mass shootings at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, during Friday prayers.

"As I observed at this morning's hearing, that is a usual and regular step for counsel to take at this point in the proceeding", said Judge Mander.

"We just have to sit in the court and listen", Nabi said.

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Local media have reported the accused had fired his lawyer and meant to represent himself at trial, raising concerns he could use the legal process to espouse white supremacist views.

He live-streamed himself as he opened fire in the packed Al Noor mosque during Friday prayers and then travelled across town to continue the carnage in the suburban Linwood mosque.

Although journalists were able to attend and take notes, coverage of the hearing was restricted, with media only allowed to publish pixellated images of Tarrant that obscure his face.

However, two Auckland lawyers, Shane Tait and Jonathan Hudson, appeared in court on his behalf.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labelled the massacre an act of terrorism and quickly introduced tough new firearm laws which banned semi-automatic weapons.

"The right to consult and instruct a lawyer and the right to a fair and public hearing are protected rights that the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act provides to every person in this country", Mr Tait wrote.

He also ordered the names of the 39 attempted murder victims to be suppressed, saying identifying them could hinder their recovery, and ruled a summary of the prosecution's allegations would not be made public as it contained sensitive information.

Outside the courtroom, Yama Nabi, whose father died in the attacks, said he felt helpless watching. Sorry for my friends who have been killed.

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